Trustee Cortez Quinn was not at the Twin Rivers Unified School Board meeting Tuesday night, but it didn’t stop the board and parents from calling for his resignation.
Quinn, 46, was arrested Nov. 6 on three felony and five misdemeanor charges that include allegedly falsifying his paternity test and accepting illegal gifts from a district employee.
On Nov. 8, Quinn announced he would take a 90-day leave of absence from the board.
But the school board and a handful of parents were clear Tuesday that they want him off the board. Ross Hendrickx, speaking on behalf of the Del Paso Heights Community Association, demanded that the board vote unanimously to seek Quinn’s resignation.
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“The community is going into its third year, at least, of Mr. Quinn being an embarrassment to the school district, rather than the example that he was elected to be,” Hendrickx said.
The board voted 5-1, with Trustee Walter Garcia Kawamoto dissenting, to approve a resolution asking Quinn to step down from his Area 5 seat immediately. Quinn represents the North Natomas and Robla areas. The resolution said there has been “concern and outrage” about Quinn’s “alleged conduct,” which “threatens to cause further distraction from the central mission of the district, which is to provide excellent educational opportunities for all students.”
The board can only ask Quinn to resign. A school board member cannot be removed by the board unless he is convicted of a crime, according to Sacramento County elections officials.
Community activist Frederick Gayle spoke in defense of Quinn, saying that the board should not take action against a person who was not yet convicted.
“People who live in glass houses should be very careful not to throw stones,” Gayle said.
Trustee Linda Fowler disagreed, saying, “If I were a student ... I would have a hard time having pride in this district.”
Parents are also taking action. Parents from Regency Park Elementary School, one of two schools in Quinn’s area, started a petition Monday night on Moveon.org asking Quinn to resign. By Tuesday evening, about 80 people had signed the electronic petition.
Quinn was arrested Nov. 5 in the parking lot of Foothill High School after a board meeting. He was released the next day on $25,000 bail.
Andre Pearson, a Comprehensive Medical Inc. employee responsible for collecting a DNA swab from Quinn, was arrested Nov. 6 for allegedly conspiring to falsify the trustee’s paternity test. He was released on $15,000 bail.
Quinn used the test result in court to deny paternity, prosecutors said, and claimed under penalty of perjury that there weren’t any irregularities in the paternity testing.
The county’s case against the men is based on DNA collected from a crumpled paper towel fished out of a wastebasket during a school board meeting in August. A criminal investigator followed Quinn into a public bathroom and waited for the trustee to wash his hands before collecting the evidence.
Prosecutors also say that Quinn borrowed more than $50,000 and received $4,000 in gifts from Sherilene Chycoski, who has filed a paternity suit against him. It is illegal for school board members to borrow money from district employees.
Quinn and Pearson made their first appearance in court Nov. 13, but the arraignment was continued until Jan. 7 at the request of Vincent Maher, Quinn’s attorney. If convicted, Quinn faces a maximum of 12 years’ imprisonment on the felony offenses and an additional six months in the county jail for each misdemeanor.
Quinn has served on the Twin Rivers board since 2007 and was board president in 2012-13. He earns $750 a month as a trustee. He worked as a longtime aide to Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, in the Legislature and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. They parted ways in 2012 under a “mutual agreement” as Quinn was being investigated by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
In February, the FPPC fined Quinn $14,000 for illegally accepting the loans and for not reporting them on financial disclosure forms required in his job as district director for Dickinson.